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The list of storm names for 2020-21 released by the Met Office includes Storm Aiden, Bella and Christoph

The next storm to hit Kent will likely be called Aiden, according to The Met Office's list of names for the coming year.

Many will remember Ciara and Dennis sweeping over the county earlier this year, but how, when and why is a storm named?

A lorry caught up in Storm Ciara. Picture: Highways England
A lorry caught up in Storm Ciara. Picture: Highways England

How are storms named?

The public have been asked to send in suggestions since the Name Our Storms scheme was launched by the Met Office and Met Éireann in 2015.

From thousands of suggestions, the offices select a range of names which reflect the diversity of Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The list runs alphabetically, alternating between male and female names. But those beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are not included in the list so our system keeps in line with US National Hurricane Centre conventions.

What are this year's storm names?

Storms which hit the UK this year will most likely be called Aiden, Bella, Christoph, Darcy, Evert and Fleur.

PA graphics storm names 2020
PA graphics storm names 2020

The other names listed are Gavin, Heulwen, Iain, Julia, Klaas, Lilah , Minne, Naia, Oscar, Phoebe, Ravi, Saidhbhín, Tobias, Veronica and Wilson.

The Met Office will be updating their webpage throughout the year as storms are named.

When are the storms named?

Storms are named when they have the potential to cause an amber or red warning.

This is based on the judgment of the National Severe Weather Warnings service which weighs up the impact weather may have alongside the likelihood of those impacts occurring.

Dover seafront during Storm Ciara. Picture by: Dean Macey
Dover seafront during Storm Ciara. Picture by: Dean Macey

Each time a storm forms, it is given the next name on the alphabetically running list. This way we know Storm Dennis was the forth storm to arrive in the UK last year.

Why are storms named?

Ultimately, it's for safety. Using a single name for severe weather makes it easier for the media to communicate and raise awareness. This makes it easier for people and businesses to prepare for when a storm hits.

The naming of storms is a practice which can be traced back hundreds of years to the 16th century, when tropical cyclones in the Caribbean were named after saints.

When are storm names announced?

The list of names is announced every year in September and runs on until the following August.

This is because as autumn begins, low pressure systems become more likely and the likelihood of named storms increases.

For all the forecasts, warnings and weather related news, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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